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Friday, July 16, 2004

Lost the battle, but...

I wonder if, looking back,  Wednesday night's game might have some extra significance for soccer in Portland.
Complimentary remarks have come in from all quarters when it comes to the 10,622 (midweek) crowd and the fact that the week-in-week-out Timbers fans in 107 and elsewhere kept up the same fever-pitch level of support for the whole 90 minutes.
Some examples;
Sitting in section 107 with the Timbers more vocal supporters made an otherwise disappointing match a very pleasant experience. This group was vocal and enthusiastic to the bitter end of the match. Thanks to this impressive group of fans for making this a very enjoyable evening. This group epitomizes what soccer fans should be. They are hard evidence that professional soccer will make it in this country.  - Cybersoccernews.com
"It was a great crowd, I give credit especially to the Timbers fans behind the goal. They're great fans, some of the best I've ever seen." - Brian Ching
"I know Portland is a big soccer town,  I don't know many teams, that when you go down two or three nothing, the fans are still cheering like that." - Landon Donovan
Rumblings about Portland as a potential city for MLS expansion have slightly increased (admittedly nothing much above the usual potential city-list that trails around the current 10-team league (soon to be 12)), but maybe, just maybe, among the 10,622 there was one potential investor who had the seeds of an idea sown in his or her mind.
In the shorter term, it would be nice if a potential owner for the Timbers (with an eye on the long term) would step up to support a wonderful team and a wonderful set of fans.
OK,  back to Gavin's red card on Wednesday night. You can watch the incident here.  Of course rewinding the clock the ideal situation would have been this.
Earthquakes awarded penalty
Gavin gets yellow
Earthquakes get the 1-on-1 chance against Josh Saunders
Gavin has to tread just that little bit more lightly for the rest of the night
As it happened the Timbers got a double-penalty against them which destroyed the whole game.
but, as the law stands a player has to get a red if he...

"denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player ’s goal
by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick (DGF)"
This law was introduced to stop blatent fouling of players breaking on goal where the attacker would otherwise be 1-on-1 with the keeper and not the kind of incident we saw between Gavin and Brian Ching
It's a pity, because unless a ref applies any flexibility then the sort of incident seen on Wednesday will happen.
The other thing to note is that MLS refs (and maybe USL refs as well) have been told to give the benefit of the doubt and the advantage to the attacking team. On Wednesday the attacking team got an advantage that was way too large.
One other thing today, a nice article in the Trib about Scot Thompson.

posted by the timberlog at 10:45 AM

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